Best Green Smoothies

Green smoothies can’t yet escape an “only in California” stigma for general yuppiness, but the facts remain: blending up $12 worth of fresh fruit & greens baby-food-style into a drinkable meal might just be the most efficient & delicious way to give your body what it really needs. If you can first swallow the $500 blender investment, that is. My beloved Vitamix is nearing its 1-yr birthday, and while it gets the most use during our Clean Diet stints, its presence on the counter provides a continual reminder that I could be consuming delicious, nutrition-packed snacks instead of the bag of pretzels in my guilty paws. Plus, I use it for soup, pesto, cocktails, and watering house plants. It may not exactly have paid for itself yet, but at least it boosts my domestic goddess status.

So for any green dream neophytes out there, regardless of your motives, go forth with confidence! Green smoothies are easy & good for you. Compared to juices, blended fruits & greens retain the plant fiber to help make you feel full for longer and, conveniently, strip toxins from your innards. They invariably turn out an unappetizing shade of brown (fruit + greens = brown) but pour them into a colorful glass, or a lidded cup with a metal straw, or top them off with unblended berries.

General tips:

  • rinse all fresh greens & veggies first, but don’t bother drying them
  • apples should be cut into 4 or more pieces, whatever your blender can handle. always remove the stem (and stickers! I won’t tell you how many stickers have made it into my smoothies!), but you can include peel and even the core & seeds if the apple is organic
  • put frozen fruit in the blender first, then add the other ingredients, with liquids last (to weigh it all down), except…
  • for kale or chard smoothies, blend the greens first with some of the liquid; these greens need more blending to burst their cell walls, releasing the nutrients
  • don’t use dairy, especially yogurt, which is never meant to be blended at high speeds. nut milks are now cheap and readily available, or easy to make at home in your awesome blender.
  • for a thicker viscous texture, include half a banana, 1/4 avocado, or some mango
  • add rice or hemp protein powders if you like, but they contribute flavor and a gritty texture
  • these recipes are for “beginner” green smoothies, meaning they are sweet with minimal chlorophyll. after a few months of smoothies, some people begin to crave a bigger ratio of greens : fruit. if you’re just trying it out, leave the “advanced” smoothies to the professional herbivores

Here are some of our favorite combinations; each serves 2:

Strawberry Cooler Green Smoothie

  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 cucumber, peeled & seeded
  • 4-6 leaves romaine lettuce
  • 3 dates, pits removed (optional sweetener)
  • 2 cups water or combination water + nut milk

Very Berry Green Smoothie

  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, blackberries, or marionberries
  • 2 cups baby spinach (~ 3 large handfuls)
  • 1 cup apple juice or cider
  • 1 cup nut milk

Chunky Monkey Green Smoothie

  • 1 apple
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen (freeze them ahead of time in a ziplock, sans peels)
  • 2 tb peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 tb carob powder (like chocolate, but w/o dairy or sugar… find it in the bulk bins)
  • 2 cups baby spinach (~3 large handfuls)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup nut milk

Tropical Mango Green Smoothie

  • 1 ripe mango, prepared, or 1 c. frozen mango
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups spinach or collard greens
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water

Apple Kale Zinger Smoothie
(my favorite! the kale foams up & smells like chlorophyll, but be brave & take a swig. if it tastes too plant-like, toss in a 4th apple)

  • 3 apples, peeled
  • 1 lemon, juiced (absolutely no seeds!! juice into a separate container & filter out seeds)
  • 6-8 leaves kale, center rib removed
  • 2 cups water

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